Facing Ramadan Like Never Before: How SG Muslims Cope
STORY: Farhan Shafie
23 April 2020
Muslims around the world are preparing for a different kind of Ramadan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Singapore, the extended circuit breaker measures will carry over the fasting month, which starts on Friday.
With all places of worship closed and social gatherings prohibited, Singapore's highest Islamic authority Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir has urged Muslims to keep to the holy month's core activities of fasting and helping those in need through alms giving. But in what other ways will they be affected?
Prayers Done At Home
On top of the five daily prayers, Muslims are highly encouraged to perform the Terawih prayers during Ramadan. This supererogatory prayer is usually performed in the evening after breaking fast congregationally at the mosque.
While this is not possible this year, Terawih prayers can still be observed at home either individually or with family members. It is a great opportunity to foster a closer relationship with the people in your household during this trying times.
Bazaars Go Online
The 2019 Geylang Serai Bazaar attracted a record 2 million visitors. This year's cancellation has understandably affected not only foodies everywhere but the vendors who depend on them.
However, you can still enjoy those delicious Ramly burgers and other bazaar favourites from the comfort of your own home. Online flea markets and bazaars have popped up such as the Bazaar Ramadhan Singapore 2020 Facebook group and eBazaar.sg on Instagram.
Centralised Donation Portal
As mentioned earlier, alms giving and charity is an important component of the Islamic faith, especially during Ramadan. Zakat is a form of alms-giving treated in Islam as a religious obligation or tax. While it can usually be paid at authorised collection centres in the mosques, this is no longer feasible.
Instead, Muslims can either make their payments in person during office hours at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore headquarters in Bradell or digitally via internet banking. A centralised donation portal, OurMasjid.sg, has also been set up to rally the community to provide funding support for the mosques to maintain operations.
Religious Classes Embrace Technology
Muslims are encouraged to increase their spritual learning during the holy month of Ramadan, through daily readings of the Quran or listening to religious lectures.
While physical classes that are usually held at mosques or religious centres are no longer available, there is a ground-up iniative from the community to provide Islamic online content to cater to those staying at home. Asatizah Youth Network and Muslim.Sg are two such prominent organisations spearheading this approach.